Wednesday, July 15, 2015

7/8/2015: Welcome Home

Here are the pictures I got at the airport. I tried to wait to post until I had collected more photos, but I haven't yet, so here's the few I got. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Email Update: 7/6/2015--see you tomorrow

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That is about how well my brain is working right now. Actual events of the week---a whole lot of going home stuff. Details on Tuesday!!!

Love and Insanity,
Elder Stuver

Monday, June 29, 2015

Email Update: 6/29/2015

Dear Everyone,

Well, if the week was slow, it still sounds pretty fun. As for being lazy, I can promise that I'll spend at least one day doing that when i get home! Probably not too much more than that, but I will take at least one day.

So, question for Dad. Just how long have I been gone?!?!?!? I thought his company's name was Tomax! What is this Demandware?!?!? 

Now that that is taken care of, I have a confession to make. I have close to zero motivation to write this week. It may have something to do with the fact that I'll be home in a little over a week, or just that I'm tired. It also could be the fact that we had another slow week, only this one capped off by starting to pack. In any case, I am having a really hard time thinking of things to write in this particular email. I'm sorry. That being said, we did have some cool things happen---they were just all dinner appointments. The meal coordinator this week was able to set up several appointments with less-active families in the ward, and every one went really well. One of them even came to church this Sunday! So, cool things do happen---it's just that so do brain farts. 

So, yeah. Sorry for this super short email. I'll try to do better next time.

Love and Insanity,
Elder Stuver

Monday, June 22, 2015

Email Update: 6/22/2015

Dear Everyone,

Wow! I guess that it's officially decided that I'll have another new family member to meet when I get home! I really like the name Miyuki, by the way, and I'm not surprised that it ended up not being the cat's name---I found it really strange that such a Japanese name would be on such an American cartoon. Most of all, congratulations, Michaela, Mario and Mei-chan!

I hope everyone had a good Fathers' Day, and let everyone included know that I say Happy Fathers' Day!! Honestly, I've felt for a long time that dads kind of get left to the side a lot, and I don't think that's right. I hope all of the dads who read this, especially mine, know that your role is huge, and without you, life is not nearly as wonderful. You are the examples in your children's lives, and there is no other man on earth that makes the same impression on a child. Even when you think we aren't, we are always watching you, trying to make you happy, and to live in a way that you would want us to. Thank you, so much, for being our dads.

As for me this week, let's say that it was interesting. Elder Twigg must have caught something at church last week, because from Monday on, he was sick as a dog. He had a fluctuating temperature, dizziness, sensitive skin, and of course, always tired. So, we ended up in the house almost the whole week. The thing is, being sick on the mission is even harder than being sick at home, because you don't have any of the usual distractions. You sit in the house all day, with nothing but your scriptures, three videos that you have seen over a hundred times, and your missionary library, which I've already finished reading (Our Search for Happiness is really good, by the way. Short, but powerful). At the same time, you have all this time, with nothing to distract you from studying the scriptures, three very spiritual videos, and a library filled with new things to learn. On top of that, time somehow managed to still fly, even when we weren't able to go out. Moral of the story? Even with something like this, the Lord still found ways to teach through the mission. I just hate hearing what sounds like my companion coughing out his lungs. 

Seriously, that's about it for this week. Not the best, but still good. Hope yours was better!

Love and Insanity,
Elder Stuver

Monday, June 15, 2015

Email Update: 6/15/2015

Dear Everyone,

Wow! It sounds like you all had a lot of fun this last week. I do have to be honest, though; I hope that I'll have a room to sleep in when I get home!!! ;)

Anyways, fj poirupetuofgfaspfgjqwoerjgpaosd fl qwjvpfoasjdflk j.

Yeah. I'm starting to get twitchy. 

As for what actually happened this week, it was really cool. We still had a little trouble finding people to teach, but those that we were able to were fantastic lessons. On Tuesday, I went to a different area, so that Elder Twigg go be on exchanges with the companion missionary. I was with an Elder Spindler, and we went to teach a 21 year-old named Josh and his younger sister, named Brittany. We had a really fun chat about different shows that we like, some comic books that he was scripting, and a lot of other things. Then, we had one of the best first lessons that I have ever been a part of teaching. We were even able top set a baptismal date in that same lesson. All he is waiting for is the testifying feeling of the Holy Ghost. 

On Thursday, We were on exchanges again, and this time I was in our area, with an Elder Lagunzad (from the Philippines). We were able to contact the grandparents of a recent convert named Bradley. He is preparing to serve a mission, and has been teaching his Grandparents the lessons from Preach My Gospel as part of his preparations. So, we were able to go in and have a really good lesson with his grandma (his grandpa had to go), where we got an idea of how much she remembered from the lessons Brad taught, and what her beliefs were right then. She told us how after Brad was baptized, she could see a kind of light around him, and she felt like she had been washed clean herself. She also told us how she felt so happy when Brad was able to be baptized for her mother, who had never been baptized while she was alive. Then she asked if it was really necessary to be baptized, and we were able to quote when Christ says "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom..." She nodded, agreeing totally. She told us that she needed to be baptized, and we were able to set a baptismal date for July 4th. It was cool, and she is super ready. 

Those were the really cool things from this week. I hope that things keep going well for you, and that you are able to do those things that you need and want. 

Love and Insanity,
Elder Stuver

Monday, June 8, 2015

Email Update: 6/8/2015

Dear Everyone,

Thanks for all your stories and such, and tell Michaela that she looks... different. ;-) 

Sadly, we didn't have much happen this week. We worked our tails off, it was just one of those weeks where everyone cancels, nobody lets you in their home, and everybody else is out of town. Honestly, though, I don't feel too bad about it. I know that we did everything that we could to make things happen, and we even were able to take our ward missionaries out with us contacting. We got 4 new referrals, the first 4 member referrals that I can even remember getting, and though we weren't able to contact them yet, they sound like pretty solid leads. We heard about a lot of the members starting to do more member missionary work, and there were even 2 or 3 people who bore their testimony about special experiences having to do with it, even including giving out a Book of Mormon. A ward missionary named Danielle told us about some of their neighbors who they had over for a BBQ. They are apparently very musical, specializing in the clarinet, which just so happens to be one of my comp's favorite instruments to play. Danielle told us that she would try to set up a time where we could all get together and meet, and they all could talk music and introductions. 

Really, I guess a lot did happen this week. It just wasn't the kind of things that we usually hope for. Of course, I should be used to that by now---rarely does God give us what we want. Instead, He gives us what is best for us, and will actually do more good than what we, with our narrow-minded pride, think is more important. I think that is one of the major things that i've learned so far. I hope that I can remember it, and possibly help someone else figure it out, too. It makes life a lot more pleasant, to know that Someone is helping us, often in spite of our belligerent attempts to do things our way. Good thing, too---the world would be in a lot of trouble if I always had what I wanted, even a lot of the good things.

I hope that everyone is happy, and that lives are going well. Sorry this was a shorter letter, but oh well. It happens.

Love and Insanity,
Elder Stuver

Monday, June 1, 2015

Email Update: 6/1/2015

Dear Everyone,

Wow, it sounds like a lot is happening now. of course, you kind of have to expect that when you are so close to the end of the school year. Even when you're not in school, the whole wold seems to go into a nuclear meltdown from the middle of May to the beginning of June. The same thing is happening up here with all of the members that we are working with, and it can be kind of funny to see all of the different expressions on everyone's faces. The best one are the seniors who are just graduated---they have this excited, glazed look that says, "No more school!!! ...Now what do I do with my life?" 

I've got a feeling I will have a very similar expression in about five weeks.

Moving on. This week was really good. It wasn't a particularly busy one, but we were able to see several people none the less, and i was able to meet a lot of the members that we will be working with while i'm here. Then, we met and spoke with s good number of less-active members in the area. One of them, a Brother Shiner, sounds like he would get along really well with Dad. We had a great chat with him about all of the different dynamics of Kuna, what businesses would help it expand, some work that he was able to do with the Mayor and crew in calling different companies to expand in this direction, and a lot of other stuff like it. He's a really good guy, and the reason that he told us that he doesn't come to church is because he felt that he got too involved in his callings when he was going, and it was taking him away from his wife and kids. Along with that, his wife started working more, including on Sundays, and they both decided that they didn't want the TV to turn into their babysitter. So, what we have to do is help him understand how to balance life with church a little better, and how to use the good priorities he already has to do those best things in his life. I think that it will go well, and he already said that he is going to come back to church---we just need to get it to happen sooner rather than the later he is planning on. Too much later, and the habits are too  ingrained to break free from without a lot of effort, effort that wouldn't be nearly as great sooner. 

We also got to go around visiting people with a returned missionary sister in one of our wards, a girl named Danielle. (Question to all females reading this; at what age do I more properly use the terms young woman, woman, lady, etc, as opposed to girl? I'm having a really hard time figuring that out, and I always feel weird trying to, especially with those who are around my age. Thank you for the help!!) She got back from the Baltimore mission back in January, and she's really cool. She's very personable, easy to get along with, and willing to help with whatever needs to be done. In all of the homes that we visited with her, she clicked with the families almost instantly. It's really nice to be able to have a member willing to help us like that, especially because we frankly just can't do it without the help. I can't count the number of times the simple fact that we wear a name tag has gotten doors shut to us. Having someone there, especially a sister wearing normal clothes, is much less intimidating, and we were able to get into every home that opened the door. It was a refreshing change from the usual.

The other thing that we have done a lot of is walk. We are serving in an area that is around 5 x 13 or 14 miles, which consists of a few subdivisions clustered together in one part, and the rest separated by several miles. We generally end up walking at least an hour or so between each area that we work in, which of course cuts in a bit to the number of people that we can teach. Honestly, though, I kind of like it. I like having the time to get to know my comp a bit better, and to learn the area. I've only been here a week, and I already know most of the streets and locations of the families that we work with. It's also nice to know that I'm at least getting a little bit of the exercise that I need, and that it's time that is working toward helping someone else. Now, I would definitely accept a car if one was provided, but again, it's been kind of nice. Besides, the car that would be in our area is currently being used by the sister missionaries in our district, and for good reason. Yes, their area is much smaller then ours (1 x 3 miles), but they live over 7 miles away from the edge of their own area. That makes it a little hard to work without a steady way to get back and forth. They should be moving closer soon though, so we will have to see what ends up happening from there. 

I think that pretty much is the highlights from this week. Thanks for all of your letters, and for the prayers and things that you do for all of us missionaries. They are needed, and appreciated. 

Love and Insanity,
Elder Stuver

​P.S. Tell Kevin Boyer that I say hi! Sorry to say, I only recognize the name---I can't put a face to it. Still, always good to hear about another UCASian. ​